Monday, March 10, 2008

Let Them Eat Plants

Evolution has caused Homo sapiens sapiens the undue burden of desire.  Namely, that is the instinctual craving for sex and food.  Our large brains have led us on a doomed journey with the sole purpose of sating those desires.  Other animals are limited with what nature and primal social structures can provide.  However, we seem to be driven to add wondrous and ultimately soul and body torturing complexities to our lives. 

I won’t even get into the sex portion of this equation because it is way more painful and ultimately the endgame of sex is the over indulgence of things taken internally.  By that I mean food, booze and emotional trauma.  Nonetheless, if that be a corned beef sandwich, quart of whiskey or self absorbed guilt it all leads to the same thing, poor health.

The ability of our modern skulls to hold 1400 cc worth of brain matter has led to some horrible consequences.  Humans have evolved with an overwhelming desire for sugar.  A product that was very rare in nature.  That was until our big brains told us that we could make our own sugar from corn.  Now that sugar is in everything humans eat, especially American humans.  Corn is in water, and bread, and meat.  Sugar is so innately desirable to us that we will fool our brains.  We will disguise sugar to look like real food.  Products masquerading as the food with which humans need to thrive.  We go through all that effort to trick ourselves just so we can eat sugar instead of…  oh, say broccoli.  Homo sapiens sapiens americanesis eats so much of what he desires that he is killing himself rather masochistically.  Like love and sex we don't think about consequences until it is too late. 

Those consequences happen to be cancer, heat disease and diabetes.  American's have developed mythologies propagating this lifestyle.  Take Santa Claus the cookie eating sugar junkie who secretly had an insulin pump installed in his belly.  Don’t tell the kids, and don’t worry it still shakes when he laughs.

But more so like a bowl full of fruit flavored high fructose corn syrup. 

So while we all die of Western diet diseases, large corporations sell us medicine to keep us alive so we can continue to eat sugar and poison infused fake food.

So instead of popping another hot pocket into the microwave read Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

The book does tend to be speaking more to the upper income folk who can afford to eat well.  Everyone should eat out of their gardens (I guess, if you own enough property for a garden), or stay out of discount grocer (another financial issue), but all said, there are good rules to live by in this book.  In fact I synthesized the rules into this nice long list.  If you want more exposition on these check out the book.

  1. Eat food mostly plants
  2. Avoid food that makes health claims
  3. Don’t eat anything your Neolithic ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food (such as Go-Gurt)
  4. Don’t eat anything incapable of rotting
  5. Avoid food products containing ingredients that are A) unfamiliar, B) Unpronounceable, C) More than 5 in number, or that include D) High-fructose corn syrup
  6. Bread should be flour, yeast, water and a pinch of salt
  7. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle
  8. Get out of the supermarket whenever possible
  9. Food doesn’t seem like the smartest place to economize
  10. Eat mostly plants especially leaves
  11.  You are what what you eat eats too
  12. If you have the space buy a freezer (for storing your grass fed cow and/or your bulk farmers market produce)
  13. Eat like an omnivore (as in lots of different things)
  14.  Eat well-grown food from healthy soils
  15. Eat wild foods when you can
  16. Be the kind of person who takes supplements and then save your money (This one is kind of lost on me)
  17. Eat more like the French.  Or the Italians.  Or the Japanese.  Or the Indians.  Or the Greeks
  18. Regard non-traditional foods with skepticism
  19. Don’t look for the magic bullet in the traditional diet
  20. Have a glass of wine with dinner
  21. Pay more.  Eat less
  22. Eat meals (no snacks)
  23. Do all your eating at a table
  24. Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does
  25. Try not to eat alone
  26. Consult your gut (eat till you are 80% full)
  27. Eat slowly
  28. Cook, and if you can, plant a garden



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